Prebiotics, probiotics, fermented foods and cognitive outcomes: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Wolfgang Marx, Andrew Scholey, Joseph Firth, Nathan M D'Cunha, Melissa Lane, Meghan Hockey, Melanie M Ashton, John F Cryan, Adrienne O'Neil, Nenad Naumovski, Michael Berk, Olivia M Dean, Felice Jacka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to evaluate randomized controlled trials that investigated the use of probiotic, prebiotic, and fermented food interventions for cognitive performance. In total, 22 studies (n = 1551) were included that investigated probiotics (11 studies, n = 724), prebiotics (5 studies, n = 355), and fermented foods (6 studies, n = 472). Despite several individual studies (14 of 22) reporting significant improvements in specific cognitive domains, results of the pooled meta-analysis found no significant effect for any intervention for global cognition (Probiotics: g = 0.115, 95 %CI -0.041, 0.270, p = 0.148; Prebiotics: g = 0.077, 95 %CI -0.091, 0.246, p = 0.369; Fermented food: g = 0.164 95 %CI -0.017, 0.345, p = 0.076) or any individual cognitive domain. Most studies (16 of 22) had low risk of bias. These results do not support the use of probiotic, prebiotic, and fermented food interventions for cognitive outcomes. This may be due to the limited number of small and short-term studies as well clinical heterogeneity relating to the population, cognitive tests, and intervention. Therefore, further trials that investigate these interventions in clinical populations using adequately powered samples are warranted. PROSPERO: CRD42019137936.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-484
Number of pages13
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Volume118
Early online date27 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Aug 2020

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